By Jerome Starkey
The Times, April 5, 2010
"US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims' bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened, Afghan investigators have told The Times. Two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a police officer and his brother were shot on February 12 when US and Afghan special forces stormed their home in Khataba village, outside Gardez in eastern Afghanistan. The precise composition of the force has never been made public. The claims were made as Nato admitted responsibility for all the deaths for the first time last night. It had initially claimed that the women had been dead for several hours when the assault force discovered their bodies. 'Despite earlier
reports we have determined that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men,' said Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Breasseale, a Nato spokesman. The coalition continued to deny that there had been a cover-up and said that its legal investigation, which is ongoing, had found no evidence of inappropriate conduct. The Kabul headquarters of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato forces, claimed originally that the women had been 'tied up, gagged and killed.' A senior Afghan official involved in a government investigation told The Times: 'I think the special forces lied to McChrystal. Why did the special forces collect their bullets from the area?' the official said. 'They washed the area of the injuries with alcohol and brought out the bullets from the dead bodies. The bodies showed there were big holes.' [...]"